Thursday, May 09, 2013

DOES APRIL 9 TO MAY 6 COUNT AS "LONG RANGE PLANNING?

During the general election campaign, Kyle's principal purpose was to craft a sentence that had a noun, a verb and the word "Hydro" in it. All told, not a bad strategy. Somewhat dishonestly presented, but an effective political strategy. Peachy. That was his way of telling people not to vote for John Spring.

That, of course, left Moore needing some reason that people should vote for him, as opposed to against John Spring.  Somewhat artfully, his backup argument became, paraphrased, "John Spring is simply too old and has been in office too long to think long range or futuristically."  Kyle, on the other hand, presented himself as the second coming of Stephen Hawking, able to picture things as they will be in the future, invent flubber and replicate Fred Flintstone's DNA. It was simply a not very subtle age discrimination argument.  

The fundamental problem with making the "Stephen Hawking" argument is that it constitutes a promise to actually be that thinker who can project things out and play things out through their natural progressions.  Many of my friends are gleefully pointing out that there is nothing very futuristic about failing to grasp that it would be difficult to have the Council confirm a guy with a massive 941 tax problem. At least a week out, it should have been obvious to anyone not abusing intoxicants that Moore's team had best develop a B plan. While loyalty to your campaign aide may be laudable, stubbornness and the inability to look at alternatives is more than a few clicks short of Hawking. 

Similarly, thuggishly whacking a city engineer and Comptroller on either half-assed or no legal advice, again with no plan B, shows an inability to game things out to their natural conclusion. I completely understand that Kyle had to show the knuckle – draggers that he could be really politically tough and fire Dick Durbin's Chief of Staff's brother-in-law and the employee who wrote a letter to the editor taking issue with some of Kyle's own positions. I understand also that, after this rock started rolling down this hill, Team Kyle finally reached out (of town) to what they hoped were real lawyers and who perhaps knew something about personnel law (no doubt certified USDA Prime by Aaron Schock).  The trouble with outside legal advice is "garbage in, garbage out."    "Details" like when the City Engineer was actually appointed sort of matter.  That's usually the kind of thing that clients tell lawyers.  Of course, these phantom outside lawyers had no client because the City of Quincy hadn't hired them.  Imagine that!  A contract law issue!  

Ultimately, we come back to the confirmation of Kyle's  legal staff. His nominee for city attorney has no enemies, political or otherwise. His nominee for assistant Corporation counsel is universally recognized as one of the bright young professionals in town and actually comes from a Republican law firm. Still something about the three-person Slate was radioactive and it was obvious to anybody watching that it was going to be radioactive among Republicans. It did not take Carl Sagan to figure out that Slate was not going to get confirmed on opening night. Again, where is the futuristic thinking?  

But let's be balanced about this. Except for the indefensible Department Head firings, which will no doubt cost the city big money in the future, the rest of this is minor league "political junkie" material. No damage has  been done yet. No real payroll has been added to the lean profile that Kyle was left. The city can go a few weeks without a DAS. The legal Slate will probably be confirmed next week and that's at least 67% of a good thing. 

To be utterly fair to Kyle, we have learned that, in the short-term, is not very poised and not a very good judge of character. On the other hand we haven't learned much about how he will govern and where he wants to take the city.. It would be wrong to judge him on a truly comprehensive failure to be up and running on day one. He is not the first Mayor to have trouble getting his people in place and he will not be the last.  I, for one, will give him a pass on the startup thing. I'd rather watch the patently phony job creation thing and meter the crony factor. 

Clean slate for now. Gentleman, I would suggest you start your engines pretty damn quick.

9 Comments:

At 7:15 AM, May 09, 2013, Blogger T. Scott Galloway said...

Without knowing much about the context beyond what I read on fb and UMRBlog - it always amuses me to see newly elected officials who (a) don't understand that a representative form of democracy is not the same as a monarchy and (b) assume that the people who know how the system works from years of experience are necessarily corrupt and/or incompetent and/or incapable of adapting to changed circumstances and so must be replaced. Not sure whether it is arrogance or laziness in this instance but it certainly is unfortunate.

 
At 7:53 AM, May 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bitter much?

 
At 9:41 AM, May 09, 2013, Blogger UMRBlog said...

0753

You must have stopped reading before you got to the last two 'grafs. There's medicine for that.

TYFCB

 
At 9:46 AM, May 09, 2013, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Scott,

That is a good overview. Probably a combination of hubris and tribalism.

I've been involved in two statewide transition teams and it was really gratifying to see the majority of the players were really grownups. This is the first one, I've seen locally with a combination of poor coordination and wanton cruelty. It's the last part that troubles me. Governing and politics are honorable undertakings. I dislike when they are demeaned by banal behavior.

TYFCB. It's not often we get, like, the world authority on local government in here.

 
At 11:49 AM, May 09, 2013, Blogger timothyjoe said...

Tony, I dare say its cruel! Really! Anyone that wins a head of something election appoints his own people. His choice of Deputy was a dud from the get go. Tax issues don't belong in holding an office. City attorneys are his choice, city engineer, I don't know about. Lets not bury someone for perceived slights. Come on B, chose Joe Biden, enough said!

 
At 12:39 PM, May 09, 2013, Blogger timothyjoe said...

All people who win this type of election have the option to install their own people. Huge ball drop on Deouty Mayor. The others are up to Mayor, what's the beef?

 
At 8:41 PM, May 09, 2013, Blogger UMRBlog said...

TimothyJoe,

Nice policy arguments but that is not what our ordinances say. I will concede the one relating to Cit engineer is confusing and antiquated but the remedy for a new one, of each, is simple...Appoint the replacement.

The bigger point is why would you not do it in a gentlemanly fashion? Only explanation is retaliation against one for his family connection and the other for exercising her first amendment rights.

City Code's on line. Read it. Then see if you can still make your arguments.

"Perceived Slights" is code for something I don't understand. I have no personal beef with Kyle and two of his chosen legals are very good friends of mine. I wish them all the best.

I like my transitions clean and humane. Simple as that.

TYFCB.

 
At 9:10 AM, May 10, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was told by a Republican friend that before Kyle is done, City Hall will resemble a blood bath. I hope he is wrong, but early indications are that our new mayor is woefully thin-skinned, and worse, seriously lacking in protocal. This same friend also indicated that anyone drawing a city paycheck, risks being terminated if caught questioning the mayor and his policies. Hope this is nothing more than speculation, but if true, it raises serious questions about Kyle's maturity and readiness to lead.

 
At 9:49 AM, May 10, 2013, Blogger UMRBlog said...

New Page to the policy manual:

"Beatings will continue until morale improves."

Credit to my good friend, Sara Tripp Betz, who recently used it in another context.

 

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